Archive for the “Blogging” Category

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When I don’t write often I find it hard to write often.

Does that make sense?

Writing is a habit.  It takes practice and persistence.  At least that’s what I find.

I’ve been a bit out of practice recently.  I tell myself I’ve been busy, and that’s true, but it’s not an excuse.  Not really.  I can make time for other things, so why not blogging?  Why not journaling my thoughts about my training for ministry?

Perhaps it’s because I’m processing.  I tend to blog when I know what I think about something.  Sometimes I think out loud.  Sometimes I kick an idea around.  But mostly I have a pretty good idea of my thoughts.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been learning and thinking about the writing prophets.  My first module has been Old Testament and we’ve been thinking about Jeremiah and Isaiah and Amos.  It’s fascinating to go back to something that was written such a long time ago and find such resonance with today.  It’s also sobering to wonder how anything I write might be read by others and might stand the test of time.

Of course I have been writing in some forms.  I’ve written sermons and emails and notes and study materials but I haven’t blogged my thoughts for ages.  To be honest I only really started this post because we’ve been doing a module on writing for different contexts and I need to write in a few formats.  This seemed more appropriate than writing a magazine article for an imaginary publication.  But why should that be?

Writing is powerful.  Words convey so much.

In a TED talk JJ Abrams talks about how he feels intimidated by his MacBook.  Some days he sits down to write and feels as though he has nothing worthy of this beautiful piece of technology.

I’ve felt that.  I’ve felt it about a new notebook with its fresh, clean pages, just waiting for me to ruin them with my inane scribbling and incoherent thoughts.  I buy Moleskine notebooks.  I use a good pen.  I do that to remind me that committing something to paper is in some ways a sacred thing.  It has value.  Even if no other person ever reads it.

Sometimes that can lead to a paralysis.  A writer’s block.  It’ll never be good enough or nobody will be interested so why even bother?

But I also find I write more when I read more and when I engage in conversation more.

Writing helps me to organise my thoughts.  It forces me to try to make things orderly and coherent.  That’s not always easy and, as I said earlier, perhaps that’s why I wait until I know what I think but sometimes as I write the connections begin to appear.  The dots start to join and a picture starts to appear.

Sometimes when I write it just comes flooding out like a tidal wave of consciousness that always seems to make sense when it’s done.  Other times writing is a long, slow and painful process that results in something that feels unfinished and doesn’t quite capturing the thoughts it grazes against.

So, I’ll try to write more here because some of the stuff I’ve been learning about is important.  Crime and punishment, justice and righteousness.  Big topics with huge implications for society.  Jeremiah and Isaiah and Amos thought so too… See… dots to be joined.

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I know that I haven’t been writing much for a while and I promise that I will get back in the groove soon, but in the meantime why not pop over to Kenny Wilson’s new site.

Kenny was one of my most read guests here in November.  He is an internationally respected author and youth work guru so pop over, say Hi! and read some great articles and even some of his creative writing in the near future.

I’ve been helping Kenny get his site up and running so look out for lots more content coming soon!

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Over the next few weeks for the first time there will be some guest posts appearing here on StewartCutler.com.

Why?

Well, because sometimes a change of voice, a different perspective and some interesting insights help us to get our heads around a problem or an issue.

I think my guests will bring some great words which will encourage and challenge us.

If you have something you’d like to share then drop me a message.

Our first guest will appear on Tuesday… so stay tuned.

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It’s dementia, of a vascular kind.

It was the morning of Monday 15 March 2010 when Dad was given a reason for the forgetfulness and confusion that have plagued and frustrated him over the last few years.  It’s been a slow process now compounded by a steadying decline in physical health.

My wife Avril has decided to journal her journey with her 81 year old father and his dementia.

I know I’m biased, but she writes beautifully and her few entries have already moved me and others deeply.

You can follow their journey at http://ateightyone.wordpress.com/ and perhaps add your own stories…

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notebookIf you follow the blog then you’ll know that I’m at the end stages of my Masters in Research.  That means I’m in the all consuming land of dissertation.

At the moment my days consist of listening to interviews, trying to remember why on earth I wrote cryptic notes during said interviews and trying to work out what said interviews and cryptic notes mean.  It’s lots of fun.

Anyway, my engagement in such fun activities means that I won’t be blogging much over the next month or so.  I will when I have time, when I’m procrastinating (there’s a good chance my post count will go up rather than down!) and when I have something I just really need to say out loud.

In the meantime why not click on one of the things on the right?  You can get great book, a free e-book, listen to some great podcasts, find out about Christian Aid week or sponsor David’s London Marathon run for Kidney Research… or all of them!

Thanks for your support and patience.

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Time

I’m not big on resolutions.  I’m not sure they serve much purpose, especially when they are things we don’t really intend to do or stick to for long.  So, instead I’m going to set some personal goals for the year.  I have a forward plan for my work so these goals are just for me.

In 2010 I will:

complete my Masters in Research

I don’t have a lot of choice in this one but I hope to have my dissertation complete by the end of April. I’ve changed the whole concept of my research and instead of something on social media I’m going to be doing a project evaluation with a church in Linwood.

run / cycle / walk more

In 2000 my brother-in-law and I ran a half marathon.  Since then he has completed the Maggies Monster Bike & Hike, I’ve sat on my couch!  I’ve never felt better in my life than when I was running regularly so I’m going to start getting out more.  Avril got some running gear from Santa so I’ll have company.  I also bought some lights for my bike so I have no excuse for not getting out on it over the dark winter months (apart from the snow and ice!) and we are going to climb more hills this year as once I get my Masters out of the road we should have some more leisure time!

learn to play the guitar

My oldest son is learning guitar at school.  I have one and I can’t play it.  I want to learn. Hopefully this will be something we and I can do together.

read

I like to read but don’t do it often.  I go through little splurges of reading a lot then maybe nothing for a few months.  The TV is going off more and books will be read.  After The Guns of Navarone, obviously.

write

They say that everyone has a book in them.  I want to see if mine is ready to come out yet.  I’m not committing to a huge project but I want to write more in this blog and write a related e-book about one of the topics I’m passionate about.

take more photos

Perhaps that should be ‘take better photos’ but I read somewhere that your photos get better after your first 10,000 so perhaps quantity is important.  I started a 365 project last year, trying to take a photo a day, but it ended up in scrambling about to find some random thing to take a photo of.  Instead, I’m going to try to take my camera with me more, take it out of my bag and take more photos.  You can see the results on my Flickr page.


I know that doesn’t sound a very exciting or even particularly ambitious list but I will be very pleased if by the end 2010 I can run 10 miles without stopping, have climbed a dozen hills, can play 10 songs on the guitar, have read 20 books, have an Masters degree and some decent photos of all that.

So, what are your goals for 2010?

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Fed up having to insert links to twitter usernames in your blog posts?  We my friend @jdblundell has the answer. Check out his Twitter Link Plugin and forget all that linking stuff.

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